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Hear from Elliot who joined us in summer 2021 straight from A Levels to start studying for his AAT qualification. 

Elliot: school leaver accounts apprentice
A levels: Biology and Computer Science
Level 3: Financial Studies from the London Institute of Banking and Finance
Professional qualifications: AAT level 3

I joined McBrides in August 2021 and am currently studying towards my AAT Level 4 qualification. I chose McBrides because it was local to me and meant I wouldn’t have to commute into London every day. The people are here are also very friendly and welcoming. 

Why become an apprentice?

In sixth form, I had no idea what I wanted to do, but knew I wanted to work within the financial sector.

I chose the apprenticeship route as I knew that I didn’t want to go to university and start taking out student loans when there were other ways to get your foot in the door. I wanted to start gaining work experience so after research, an accounts trainee role sounded perfect.

Friends who are now in their final year of university studying accountancy will end up sitting the same chartered accountant exams (the next stage qualifications) as me – and most likely at the same time too. 

What do you most enjoy about being an apprentice?

I enjoy working and studying with other apprentices who are similar in age and are all working towards the same goal. I also enjoy going to London for my study days, as it gives a change of scenery and a chance to meet new people and make new friends. Some of my closest friends I have met on my training courses, and we regularly meet up on the weekend and are even going on holiday together this summer.

Earn while you learn

If you have your heart set on becoming an accountant, I personally think the apprenticeship route is much better than going to university. In the UK, you do not need to go to university to be an accountant.

People who study at university will sit the same professional exams (ACA or ACCA) as you once you’ve completed your AAT qualifications and when they start after their degrees. However, you will have three years’ practical experience dealing with clients and businesses, which should put you at an advantage. And no debt!

Find out about our school leaver apprenticeship options here

McBrides Chartered Accountants LLP